Ahhh, that feeling when you take your first step into the pole studio… The slight intimidation factor juxtaposed against the excitement and yearning! The music, the colors, the smiles and warmth and welcome of the instructors and regular students. No matter your age, your style, your appearance or your experience, when you find that first studio that’s just right for you, you cannot be torn away! Your home studio is a place for you to forget the rest of the universe as soon as you set foot into that wonderful world of whooshing around the pole and whisking through the air!
Finding a home-base training studio for the serious hobbiest or semi-pro pole dancer is definitely to their advantage. Getting to know the staff and instructors on a personal level can cultivate relationships that are not only professionally productive, but personally uplifting and inspiring. Having familiar coaches to help personally sculpt your skills throughout your training process is beneficial in so many ways.
Yet like all things, change comes around the bend when you least expect it. Change comes in many forms. Your home studio has a drastic change of staffing. There is a re-branding. A new influx of members comes in and demands new or different curriculum. Certifications become more or less in demand. Instructor availability changes. Then after some time, you might feel the need to look for more versatile training. Maybe you have heard of a great studio just up the highway, but never tried it because it’s 5 miles further out of town? Or maybe you hear of a new class or traveling instructor that catches your interest, but you feel so tied to your home studio that you are afraid that it’s “cheating” to go elsewhere?
As a former studio director whose instructors have branched out all over the country, I have experienced the ups and downs of saying goodbye to both staff and students. Sometimes instructors leave to pursue higher education, to tour or to audition all over the country. Some students leave because they graduate, get other jobs or move away. But also, sometime everyone just needs a change. Sometimes the evolution of your art does not keep up with the evolution of your home base. You may feel that you have hit a physical or creative plateau, or that you have simply gotten all that you can out of the instructors, staff and studio experience. If this happens, you owe it to yourself to explore. To seek out more inspiration. To meet other instructors and students, and take a look at what you might have been missing out on. Personally, I am a creature of habit and comfort. It’s difficult for me to step out of my comfortable routine and take a chance on something that may disappoint or make me feel awkward… But that’s the beauty of life. Taking those chances, putting yourself out there, and making the new, unexpected things happen.
I recently had a major career change that led to a major lifestyle and attitude change. Once things settled down, I signed up for the very first non-pole-and-aerial-related dance class that I have taken in over a decade. I was excited, intimidated, and felt like I had two left feet, but I KILLED IT (thanks Serese Brown). And when I left, I felt amazing. That’s what you should feel. You should always feel amazing when you leave class/your studio. If you feel any tension, judgement, negativity, cliquey vibes, or see anything unseemly, follow your instincts and explore different options. Many of my pole friends and peers have found such happiness since exploring the other studios in their area. Frankly, I am super excited to do the same!
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